Netflix Usage Illustrates Changing Demands Of Internet Usage
According to new research the TV streaming site Netflix is now the single largest source of Internet traffic in the U.S.
Sandvine, the network monitoring company gathered data that showed in March 2011 the site accounted for 29.7% of downstream traffic at peak times. Netflix usage has surpassed web browsing and peer to peer file sharing. The site accounted for a 22% average traffic share throughout a 24 hour period, highlighting that it is not just a peak periods where streaming is in demand.
The report issued by Sandvine says that “real-time entertainment,” which is the streaming of audio and video, is “continuing its journey to network dominance” and is responsible for just under 50% of peak time Internet congestion in the U.S.
The demand for streaming video and audio content has grown bt 44% since Autumn 2010 and industry researchers have predicted that at the current rate of growth it would make up 55%-60% of all traffic by the end of 2011.
There story is similar in Europe where streaming accounts for 33.2% of Internet traffic which is a figure that has been steadily increasing for the last 3 years. Netflix is unavailable in the UK but according to Sandvine, the BBC’s iPlayer is the biggest streamer of commercial content and has a 6.6% share of peak traffic in the UK.
With the changing pattern of Internet usage, Internet service providers (isp) will be forced to provide services able to cope with this increased demand. Simon Davies, the co-founder of IDNet said “The problem comes with events like the World Cup and the Olympics, where you get ‘flash floods’.It’s very difficult to engineer a network that can scale to four times when there’s a ‘flash flood’. The Olympics are going to cause a problem.”
A spokesperson for the Internet Service Providers Association said “ISPs are aware of this issue and manage their networks appropriately to cope with high quality content and continue to invest in upgrading their networks to improve capacity.ISPs also offer a number of broadband packages to accommodate users that require high bandwidth services.The UK’s broadband market is extremely competitive and continues to deliver the best service possible for the end user.”